The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ERazor Excorcism Begins

I started the process of excorcising whatever demons possessed the ERazor 450 by stripping out the servos, removing the tail boom support struts, replacing the horizontal fin and the vertical fin, restabilizing the tail boom, and taking apart the rotor head and removing the broken main shaft halves. I found one set of one of the main blade grip bearings to be damaged, and replaced those. I am replacing the stock swash servos (which seem to be a variant of the Tower Pro SG90). I will also be taking the Hitec HSG 5084MG tail servo off the CopterX 250 and using it instead of the stock tail servo, which I suspect is the same as the stock swash servos. I have a replacement rotor head block coming since I think the washout guide pins are bent and may have contributed to the last crash. Some of the ball links are a bit stiff, and I will be addressing that as well. The swash assembly doesn't move as smooth as it should. I am confident they will move smoothly after this work is completed.

I am pretty sure that she is going to come out of this refit a very fine 450!

Pretty is for girls...

You gotta love EPO foamies. After a little foamie repair magic she's back! Yesterday Cubby 2 was in 5 large foam pieces after her suicide attempt. Today, after some epoxy on the plastic canopy, Beacon 3-in-1 Craft Glue, some toothpick spars along the major breaks, some packing tape and strategically placed Econo-cote, she is flight ready! I decided that I won't cote the whole fuse, but will just put a patch over the fractures as they are repaired. I will keep the wing coted however. I also threw another washer under the lower motor mounts to raise the thrust vector of the motor a little more. Now there are 3 nylon washersunder both lower attachements.

So far the lines remain clean. I did place a large piece of structural styrofoam in the electronics compartment to act as a fore-aft spar to help straighten out the sagging flex the fuse was developing from the serial repairs. This lined up the empennage better. I also epoxied a Velcro strap in the battery compartment. Between the Dual Lock Velcro and latch, if the battery escapes that and the addition of the Velcro strap, then it was meant to be.

The molded plastic cylinder heads were broken off. I decided not to try to epoxy them back in place on the right side.  This replacement Alpha 370 motor is remarkably durable! Since installing it I have had a number of crashes, each of which would have resulted in replacing a taco'd stock motor. Clean the dirt out of the spinner and this one is ready to go!

Pretty is for girls...

The selection of Cubbies in the less than 1.5 m wingspan range is limited for the ply/balsa-cote versions. I have decided I will eventually get the Eflite J3 Cub from Horizon Hobby, but want to wait before I undertake another big purchase and build.

Tomorrow I'll take Cubby out to BMF, bring her back in 5 pieces, and start all over again... it's what we do, my Cubby and I.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day at BMF

It was a small crowd at BMF today that found calm to gentle winds with unpredictable very brisk gusts to add some excitement!

It was a beautiful clear day, quiet and just a great day of flying. It was calm one minute, blustery the next. As usual the winds were from the south, right down the runway. The challenge was the wind's unpredictability, blasting along at about 15 mph one minute so that the Alpha 450 was harriering in on low power on landing, fighting to make way, then suddenly be gone so she was dropping with no airspeed. I learned to make the approach with power, but I could maintain nothing that looked like a regular glide path. Sometimes she'd hit a wind shear and rise or fall suddenly straight up or down, often both, 1-2 feet vertically! That was especially cool to see when I had her humming along in cruise about 50 feet up over the runway and she would  bob and weave while I did nothing on the controls. It was a great day of flying, learning how to handle winds! I did put her down hard once after some of that harriering and I snapped off the landing gear. Some epoxy and an hour later she was back in the air doing the bobbing and weaving! I also solo'd the Cornell. With Arnie's help we tuned up the rates and expo and I practiced flying and landing her in the winds. I still need to work around the fact that her nose drops with pulling back power, so I need to come in with power on a clean glide path, or use a steeper approach and flare late. Otherwise she would land nice but immediately tip forward on touchdown. Landing without style or grace...

Cubby flew magically! I had a little problem with the split elevator not operating together like it is suppose to (the side with the control horn would move, but if there was any resistance the other side would not move out of the airstream as the connector rod between them was slipping). I tried CA, to no avail, but fixed the problem when I epoxied it. I accidentally broke the spring control horn for the tail wheel that linked the rudder to the tail wheel, so had to remove both springs. Turned out she ground handled 100% better without it, just castering about! I also learned I needed to apply power slow on takeoff, and as the tail came up, blast the throttle and she would takeoff nicely but with a very short rollout. Otherwise trying to roll it out scale like she would tip over her nose. I had her cruising, flying sweet, though she was a manageable challenge to handle in the wind. There something awesome about watching a Cubby go by just above eye level. I enjoyed flying her for several packs though it was a lot of work. It was going so well that she committed suicide. Coming out of a shallow dive her nose did not come up and she slammed into the ground, even though she had more than enough room to come out. I thought it was the elevator issue again... but the battery was no where to be found at the crash site. She had thrown her battery coming out of that dive! So, she cracked her wing, broke her fuse in the usual two places (fore and aft of the cockpit), cracked the canopy wide open, and I am down a battery I could not find. I already have the repairs underway, but I am beginning to think I don't want to buy anymore parts... I need a Cubby, always will have one, but maybe the time has come to upgrade to a ply/balsa cote one?

Frankenheli had issues... Never came out of spin up. She wanted to rotate hard right. I noticed later the tail rotor shaft is bent, but I don't think that was the issue. Is it the mini-MEMS gyro? I don't think so. She just didn't seem right and is grounded until I fix that tail rotor shaft and can sort it out. So, no flyable heli's. I am thinking of putting the new spare 450 pro head I bought on the EXI and returning her to flight status as a 2 blade fly barred heli. I haven't started the repairs on the ERazor either. I decided I am not going to let my helis become a time sink... I watch my fellow HeliFreaks spend so much time working out the kinks and not flying (though Cool Hand CJ seems to never have to repair anything and flies his 450 all the time), and as I blogged yesterday, I lost a whole day of flying because of that time pit. I will fly, fix easy things, and if I can't fly a heli due to major work, I will gladly put her back in the car and enjoy my planks!

Here are some pics from today at BMF!

Jim and his Trex 450. Can you see the heli right in front of him?

The front of Jim, smiling like a kid!

The boys in the pit. Look at that flag go!

Dick playing with a 450.

Arnie flying his rather agile "Cow". Our clubhouse in the background.

I'm taking a day off from flying tomorrow. Winds are supposed to remain brisk and blustery. Wed and later in the week things are supposed to become summery: Africa hot, dry and breezeless...

Now I need to fly the Stearman! I also want to fly the MX2 myself once Jerry thinks I am ready. Great flying day! Missed seeing the guys who weren't there today... hopefully later this week.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blah-dee-dah kinda day...

Today was a flying bust, and a heli nightmare, but getting to see CJ and David Latil's family at least made it a good day at the field. Too windy for the Alpha and the Cornell.

The ERazor, which flew so well a couple of days ago, was simply possessed by demons. From shearing off her top Jesus bolt on first flight, to being weirdly responsive to controls, to spinning herself up on the bench (transmitter on, throttle hold on, transmitter on the table getting ready to test fly her, chatting with Jim (Devin's Grandfather) when she went unglued like the reciever released but kept running. I picked up the TX and it was on, throttle hold still on. She kept going until Jim reached under and unplugged her while I moved the other helis. Usually when the receiver releases like that the heli will shut down after a moment...), to getting a mind of her own flying off so that CJ finally had to give her a smackdown. She had demons. We finally crashed her to save her from going off the res. Sheared her solid mainshaft clean in half! She is getting a strip down, different servos, having her ESC reprogrammed, and getting a bath in Holy water before fly her again. Just plain wacky... That ate up a couple of hours.

Started tuning up the HDX500, learning she has some issues that ate up time and more time. Solving one problem lead to the discovery of anther, until we got to a point I just need to buy some parts and replace a servo. That ate up another couple of hours...

Tried Frankenheli only to discover her tail boom rotated  under flight pressure (darn thing is sliding depsite being very tight), and her ESC lost the throttle limits, so we benched her for the day without her skids leaving the ground. Jim noticed that the tail rotor had also come loose on its spindle which was making the tail bind, and not giving full tail rotor power.

So, after about 6 hours of standing over a bench and not flying anything, I was getting kinda cranky and decided to go home and squish the Lukey (world's best hugger!).

I decided to finish the refab work on the Cubby, so she is now ready to fly. She looks pretty good. I worked on Franky and she is flight ready. Tomorrow I plan on bringing the Alpha, the Cornell, Cubby and Franky to BMF and spend time flying. I only hope the wind allows.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cubby Nose Lift

I forgot to mention yesterday that after watching me flail trying to get Cubby off the ground Arnie made a suggestion that fixed the problem rather directly. Like Phoenixcubby, Cubby2 has the new motor, which may a bit more heavy and hrave a different thrust vector. Both of them, as seen in my Last Flight of the Phoenix video, have a tendency to tip forward when power is applied. He suggested putting a couple of washers under the lower mounts, moving the thrust vector up. Darn if this didn't make that problem go away... My next flights all had nice clean take-offs!  Thanks, Arnie!

By the way, bring on the comments, but those wire ties work great for securing this small motor! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Totally Awesome Very Cool BMF Day!

What a great day of flying! Got off to an early start and enjoyed the best flying weather this spring. The crosswind breeze picked up in the late afternoon, but they really were light gusts. And very importantly, we took the shiny off the MX2 and the Cornell! I also got to have second lunches taking down a very tasty red meat sauce spaghetti ala Ron Johnson after my Subway Italian a few hours earlier.  Having some issues with my Spektrum Dx6i right gimbal being sticky and not coming back to center detente and doesn't move cleanly (sticky like). Took it apart, oiled the "bearings", improved but still bugs me now that Jerry Gollot brought it to my attention. I may need to get it serviced.

I LOVE my Dynam ERazor! She flew wonderfully in hover, sweetly and tightly tracking, handling awesomely with full rates and low expo. I was very excited and proud as I had her totally in control. After 5 minutes in the first flight I had to land to take a breath and get a grip I was so waiting for something bad to happen. The second pack also went great! Then I broke the deal with myself... I was going to stick to tail in hover. I fly the sim in all angles well, but I am very anxious about doing it for real. So as I turned the heli nose in, then tried to bring it from my left to right, it came forward a bit. I panicked, even though it was quite a bit aways, and instead of recovering a self fulfilling prophecy was fulfilled and as she dropped towards me I hit throttle hold and cognitively stopped flying, so she  drilled. But only a bent feathering shaft, main shaft, snapped off the tail fin and stripped pitch servo. Blades were fine!  I have already field repaired everything except the feathering shaft. I do hate trying to get the middle Jesus bolt aligned on the ERazor... it has one just above the tail power takeoff gear and one below the main gear. The middle one has to align the gear, and painfully, the one way bearing shaft, and the main shaft. Hard to get them all aligned just right.

My bench at BMF!

Flags up for Memorial Day Weekend. Busy flightline today!  Had about 15 pilots and a couple of drive up visitors. The visitor was talked into flying on a Buddy Box with Ron, and had about 3 flights! I am sure he's on the hook now!

Jim Williams and Jerry Gollot preparing a club trainer for flight.

Devon flying his brand spanking new Seagull Extra 540. He won't admit it, but he's a great kid and a very good pilot! I had the pleasure of meeting his grandfather, Jim.

We maidened my Eflite PT-19 Cornell today! Jerry took her up and trimmed her out, flew her for a bit and brought her in for a landing. On the second flight I took the controls. She is as stable, if not more so, than my Alpha. She does need a late clean flare on landing. Tomorrow I plan to solo her!

We also maidened the BlitzRXWorks MX2. Jerry and Arnie flew her for me (I prefer to have skilled pilots maiden my planes. I want to know that if something is wrong with the plane, a skilled pilot has a better chance of bringing her home. Good thing too... She had some serious issues right after takeoff). On takeoff all hell broke loose as soon as her wheels left the ground. She acted tail heavy, and nearly flipped on her back as she waffled wildly even though her CG was spot on, but Jerry, who was flying her, managed to land her right side up before the end of the runway. If I had been flying her she would be in with the Ents who live down there or coming home in a trash bag... The landing gear are way too soft, and bent back very easily (both in the crash and the repair). The wheel pants I pulled off after the first flight; they were rubbing the wheels as you may recall from the MX2 build, but they cracked off on the first flight/crash landing. I didn't like them anyway. Once we solved the balance/trim problems, she was easier to takeoff, but she is a squirrelly plane near the ground and with low power or high power, even in Arnie's very skilled hands. Once we got her up and trimmed she flew wonderfully with attention to power. Large control surfaces make for sharp and intense control. Arnie popped some moves and she controlled cleanly and sharply. She has great power, and she is way fast. On landing, time and again she would touch down and immediately fold over her landing gear. We got very good at removing them and re-bending them back into position. Her  nose likes to drop when the power comes off, and the three blade 12x9 prop has some serious breaking power, so coming in with power and flying her all the way to the ground (she wants to fly forever), with a very careful and late flare is the ticket. I think it will be a while until I fly her solo... I don't quite have the skills. She is NOT a beginner's plane, but when I do get schooled, she will be an amazing plane to fly! That being said, I would rather have gone with a ply/balsa and cote plane instead of the MX2. Can't recommend this one, but maybe time will improve my opinion.

This is going to be a busy flying weekend! I will be flying the Cornell, and the Alpha 450, which I also flew the cote off today. It looks like my 51mm feathering shafts are here, so I will also be maidening Franky! Oh, almost forgot, its so commonplace... Cubby flew fine, until she took a sudden rolling dive when her rudder fell off... oops.  Broke in the usual places. My wife (and my flying buddies) ask why bother, but its now a game and a challenge. I promise to fly her, and not bring her home in one piece, and she promises to break cleanly in the usual places. Works for us...  I have a feeling it will not be long before her wing is hanging near Phoenixcubby's on my wall.

Thanks for another great flying day, MCRCC Guys!

Happy flying, keep the lifties under the wings!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hey, My Blog Rocks!

I started my blog on Friday, October 29, 2010. Since then my readers have viewed my blog 10,016 times! Don't beleive me? Scroll down and check out the non-adjustable page view counter down below. That scale thingy is dymnamic and shows how daily page hits vary. That's great! My site has been visited from all around the world and I enjoy recieving emails and comments from my readers.

Today I added a large banner to the end of my blog site that will take you to our MCRCC website. I have only been to a couple of clubs, but I have no doubt our people make ours one of the best on the planet!

A special thanks to all of my readers! Keep coing back and enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Four Blade Bad Boy!

I needed to replace the feathering shaft on the EXI 450, but a dearth of 51mm 450 Pro feathering shafts in my parts bin lead me to go ahead and pull out the CopterX 450 4 blade rigid rotor head. I have been putting this off as I will need to put a microBeastX Flight Stabilization System on it to fly it beyond a garage hover. If I had bought the more expensive floating head, I could probably fly it without the BeastX, but I would like to have a stabilized heli anyway. I have the Dynam ERazor 450 and Frankenheli 450 Stretch, so I figured its about time to go ahead and set up the 4 blade!

The CopterX 450 4 blade rigid rotor head I purchased was supposed to come with the links, but I realized as I inspected it that, well, it didn't. I noticed as well that the lower Jesus bolt hole is in the wrong place... I am not aware of any 450 that has the bolt there. So Job #1 was to replace the main shaft, Job #2 was to build links for the servo to swash and swash to grips.

Shaft replaced. I have no idea where exactly the swash stabilizer bar goes, so I put it where it was on the orignal set up, about 6 mm below the rotor head. I would later move it down a bit to get a nice 90 with good ROM on the grips.

Its a beautiful head. Here in place with the linkages I made. Had no idea what the lengths are supposed to be, so I figured out 90 with good ROM again. The Grip links are about 45 on center. The servo to swash links are about 47 mm on center.  I leveled the swash at center stick, and set the swash stabilizer arm to 90 level, and the balls 90 forward off set their grip. I haven't set the swash mixes yet, so I suspect the linkages with change a little.

View from the front.

Sweet! 450 standard 325 mm fiberglass blades. Opposite blades are balanced with each other (1-3 and 2-4).  Only one blade required taping to add weight.

Awesome looking heli!  I will set the swash up and hover her in the garage, but I won't try to fly her until I get the microBeastX on her!

UPDATE: I ordered these blades. They are a few mm shorter and narrower than the standard blades (322x21.5 vs 325x32mm).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Last Flight of the Phoenix

There comes a point where you just have to decide enough is enough, and to let a plane go... Cubby #1 was my first plank, and she taught me how to fly, that we can survive crashes, and how to fix foamies from nearly every ill. But, I just couldn't get her to fly right in the end.

Several of my past posts have been about her deteriorating stability, and that she was becoming progressively underpowered as her weight increased from the repairs. My flying skills are still novice, but I can fly her. I've flown her over a dozen times just fine. She looked marvelous after this last repair... she had beautiful lines, a perfect CG, and more power than ever. But something was wrong, she wasn't the same. I don't think it was the gusts, because even in the calm she wouldn't settle down. She gyrated like a bucking bronco, high rates, low rates, full throttle, idle... it didn't matter. Sometimes she just didn't respond well to inputs, mostly continuing to glide downwards despite full up elevator and full power, sometimes over-reacting, sometimes delaying her reaction. She was unhappy, and so was I. And so, we crashed... A steady dive, not a stalling collapse. Hard into the ground. I had a feeling this would be the last flight of the Phoenix, so I tried my keychain hatcam again. But, as with all things Cubby, it just wasn't quite right, and Cubby was out of frame for almost the entire video.

Bad hatcam video, but the timeline is interesting to watch unfold. 
Her last flight, couldn't just toss out the video...

Brand New Exceed 4ch J3 Cub 1080mm from Nitroplanes
Build completed February 5, 2011

Rest in peace, Phoenixcubby...
May 21, 2011

Needless to say, I LOVE Cubbies, ground handling issues aside. I have Cubby #2, and someday I am sure there will be another. I have a fondness for these 1080mm foamie Cubs. It was hard not piecing Phoenixcubby back together again, so hard. But she just isn't the same. I had to force the canopy in, pushing the nose down, so I know she is deformed so much her true lines are all wacked. So, I am cannibalizing her parts, and her wing is above my bench forever, a reminder of my first plank love...

To round out the day, I took the Alpha Sport 450 up. It was a WILD ride, and after a couple circuits, and her being just carried away by the wind, I landed her in one piece (she harriered almost straight down like a heli... the wind had gotten so brisk). A little too much for my skill level. That was enough for me, so I called it a day. Another pilot lost a plane in a crash, others flying heavier nitro's took advantage of the 8-9 mph winds and 12-15 mph gusts, flying only a few times more themselves. Tough day.

I am looking forward to the arrival of my Nano P-51 Mustang, and hope, oh I so hope, she is stable and fun to fly! Tomorrow, if the winds allow, I plan to fly the Cornell and the MX2. Big day planned. And, I may even have the ERazor ready!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Here we go again...

Phoenixcubby, again. This time with a 225W Exceed Alpha 370 motor from Hobbypartz. This baby has some scary power... I bench ran the motor and the tail came off the bench she wanted to fly like a rocket on thrust alone! Way more power that the stock motor! She is spot on for CG. The wing has a good shape, but I think you can tell the end that broke just by the way it turns up a tad more. Was going to head out to BMF today to fly her, but I had a bad night last night at work and just didn't have the heart for it... I think tomorrow I will be up for it!

Nice new canopy!

Yellow stripe of Econocote to give some strength to the broken wing since I could not spar it.

Straight wing, elevator and fuse.

Sitting pretty.

Still sorta lists to port...

Waiting for the new 225W motor to arrive for Cubby 2, and she too will be ready for flight. Love my Cubbies!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Please, somebody stop me...

I am obssessed with Phoenixcubby... so, yes, I am rebuilding her... Fixed the wing, but it did not break apart completely, so no spars. She is a little weak there as a result I think, a bit too much flex. The wing has its droopy negative dihedral again. I debrided the fuse, and glued the forward part back together. I also glued the empennage back on, as it broke cleanly. Yeah, she's a little heavy feeling, and I think her nose turns up a bit too much, so the motor thrust vector is off a tad. Once again I had to fabricate the posterior canopy attachment from styrofoam. It was damaged, but held together pretty well. I had to remove it entirerly and rebuild that part using styrofoam.  I think the cowl has had it, so I don't know if I will put it back on. It secures the canopy to the fuse, and the wing is attached to the canopy, but I have an idea that saves some weight and doesn't use the cowl. I will cote the fuse again, this time in red just because. I plan to balance the wing, to see if that will help her stability issues. I want to have her ready by Wednesday. Here goes nothin'...

I also have all the Erazor parts in, so I plan to finish her repairs too!

Friday, May 13, 2011

BlitzRCWorks Nano P-51 Mustang

With the death of Phoenixcubby I needed a new small inexpensive parkflyer. I will eventualy be getting a larger foamie Mustang (I am eyeing this one), I have another 1 meter foamie Cub, so I have been thnking about this sweet BlitzRCWorks Nano P-51 Mustang from Banana Hobby. This plane is tiny! I suspect, being so small she is going to be challenging for me to fly as a newbie, but I think her smallness will make her more crash resistant.

She haasn't been  released yet, but is expected to ship late May! Fun!

The dog crap was my first sign...

Clearly there comes a point where you just can't fix a plane anymore. Phoenixcubby is there... As I mentioned, she was flying sluggish, like she was under powered, and she went unstable with the slightest change. Yes my skills are still sloppy and developing, but I can usually fly the cubby for several laps before I do something stupid. Since the last major rebuild she just hasn't been the same. Yesterday in Meridian, MS, I took her out to the Northeast Recreation Fields and tried flying her again.

The soccer field there was covered with big dog poop... this was my first sign that things were going to go down the crapper. The second sign was she was requiring looonnng run outs for takeoff, and would tip forward breaking props even though I had full up elevator on high rates. The third sign was that when I got her up there, she waddled unless she was in level flight at full throttle. It was all I could to land her. I changed positions on the field to get the sun out of my eyes, still having flown her for only a minute or so. I again found it difficult to get her to take off, and then finally she did. She seemed okay, full throttle, climbing turn to the right nicely, was heading back. I dumb thumbed her into a right roll when I wanted left, and she was unforgiving. Once she started that right roll, full aileron did not bring her upright, full back stick did not bring up the nose, and she drilled into the ground...

I thnk she was just too heavy for the motor and the wing... Too much glue, too many spars, too much tape, just too heavy, under powered, and too much wing loading. Her fuse is broken in several places, the canopy is broken again, her wing is broken the forward part of the fuse is mushy... I could put her back together again, but not improve her weight characteristics. I think its time to move on, salvage the parts I can, focus on Cubby 2, and my new micro plane!

Good-bye, Phoenixcubby!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Can't catch a break...

Up in Meridian, Mississippi, absolutely gorgeous day. Had to fly, thought about it all night and all morning. First chance I got, I took off for a set of soccer fields I found nearby. Turned out to be a pretty decent size set of fields just north of North Hills on Hiway 39. Took Cubby! But Cubby's receiver wouldn't light up, and I was getting the slow beeps of death. I tried rebinding, no joy. This was the HK Orange receiver from the last big crash, but I had no reason to suspect it. I packed up and headed back to the apartment. I tried the receiver attached to my Sim Stick, and I thought it gave me the same sounds, and wouldn't bind. I suspected the ESC, but that didn't make any sense either. So I took the ESC to the local hobby shop (it moved from the address I found on the internet, so I called and Donald gave me directions. which, being a man, I failed to follow correctly and drove several miles past the left I was supposed to take. Once I figured that out, I found North Hills Hobbies nowhere near North Hills...because it moved...). Donald help me prove the ESC was actually fine, which made me happy because I like this Hobby Wing ESC. So I took it back to the apartment and tried the Sim Stick's Specktrum again (it's the counterfeit one I didn't know I bought counterfeit). This time I let it take a little longer to bind and it did just fine. But this time it did the normal tones, and gave me the slow beeps of death again, even though the receiver was bound. So I Googled it and I saw something I remember seeing before so I tried it. I turned on the transmitter with the throttle full up. I then powered the receiver, and after the 2 beeps dropped the throttle to off. I then turned everything off and powered it up again. Beeps gone, fully bound, ready to fly!

I went back to the field, still gorgeous outside! Checked CG, checked control surfaces. I did a few ground loops, broke a prop, kept adjusting the landing gear to get prop clearance, and finally got her flying. But she was wishy-washy, sluggish... Ran into a ginormous lighting pole, crashed to the ground, just broke a prop and the canopy (damn canopies...). Changed the prop, taped things up, realized the upper motor mount screws were pulled... maybe that's why she flew funny. These were the screws I thought were secured even though they had no nuts.  Wrong...  I used wire ties to secure them, and checked her out, took her up again. This time, she seemed much more responsive, took her down field nice and slow, turned and brought her back. She seemed her self again! I turned, and she started her roll, but began to nose down. Pulled back on the stick, but JUST LIKE THE LAST MAJOR CRASH SHE NOSE DIVED FULL SPEED INTO THE GROUND! I just can't catch a break with her. So I threw her in the car, and went off to Las Fuentes for a chimichanga and a lot of sweet tea. Once I got back home I spent a couple hours putting her back together again. She had once again stove in her nose, this time breaking the motor mount off the fuse, cracking then fuse under the cote. I glued her back together, added packing tape to stabilize her, and she is as good as before. I epoxied the motor mount back in place and its secure. I glued the canopy together, repaired the fuse as well as I could. Once I had everything back together, I threw in a battery, and ran the motor. Now this motor rocks! The prop and motor took a direct hit, but the large shaft could not be bent! Ran true, ESC and motor stayed warm, not hot, and the battery ran her for about 10 minutes at 3/4 throttle. Very nice! I am letting the glue set in overnight. I think the weather is supposed to get squirrelly so I don't know that I will get another chance to fly her. Which is maybe a good thing... since that's not going so well for me.

Looking good! I suppose she is getting a bit heavy with all the repairs... I still love her!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Phoneixcubby Done!

The canopy came in today, so I fitted the foam under the wing and canopy, and screwed it into place. I screwed together the struts, and glued where the plastic bits were missing from the wing. She looks god, but man, she is bent... I shimmed the left wing where it joins the canopy, after I took these pictures, and it evened out a bit. It was difficult to say, but I think the tail empennage is a bit canted too. At least the wing is straight!

Looks good!

Here you can see the right wing is higher than the left wing. I later put shims of firm closed cell foam under the left wing to even it out a little.

Very pretty!

This close up shows the way I secured the landing gear flange inside the body so that it can move, but resists bending backwards by running into the fuse. I used a cut section of the old wing strut that I melted to a more acute angle after cutting it short. I think this will work out pretty well! I may end up securing it to the post with a plastic wire tie.

Looking forward to flying her! It ought to be an adventure. I haven't decided if I am taking any RC up to Meridian with me, but if I do it would be the Cubby. I will take the sim. This week I will order the parts I need for Cubby 2.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Call me Hans, and give me a beer!

Solo'd my Alpha 450 today with Arnold as my spotter/coach. Flew two separate packs for about 5 mins in moderate winds, with excellent take-offs and landings. It felt great as I needed to cut the training cord or else I would be waiting for IPs to be around to fly! I can't wait to fly the PT's.

Enjoyed watching Jim, Dick and Dickie fly their helis. Jim flew his 450 and Dick's 600, Dickie his 500 and then Dick flew his 600. It is really fun watching Jim fly with such precision!

I brought home all my planes, mostly because I only flew the Alpha and quit while I was ahead. It was wierd not bringing anything home in a bag! (I have always solo'd the Cubbies, and we know how that usually ends. I have been afraid to fly the balsa's because when they crash it is not nearly as easy to fix. So, soloing the Alpha was a big step forward in my therapy)!

Two finger Solution: Finally in a pinch!

I have been trying to switch to a pinch rather than a thumb control on my transmitter, but just couldn't get comfortable with pinch. I red a very nice piece in June 2011 Fly RC by Dave Scott where he describes a modified pinch, as I call it, taught by the 1st RC Flight School. I wanted to link to the article, but apparently Fly RC doesn't allow that...  Here's a pic of what my hands look like on the transmitter with this technique:

I don't know if the classic pinch is one finger fore and aft of the stick, or if this is the actual classic pinch, but this is much more comfortable for me. I have been flying the sim with this and I like it much better. Just as his article says, I find I had to reduce my expo to 10-15% when I was using 25% as my control immediately got finer and less jerky. I like a mushroom top on the right stick and a standard top on the left stick. Finally a pinch that works for me!